WIPP truck involved in minor accident
June 4, 2006
By Kyle Marksteiner

CARLSBAD — A Waste Isolation Pilot Plant truck loaded with three containers of transuranic waste was involved in a traffic crash in Idaho on Friday, WIPP officials said Saturday.”It’s a traffic accident,” said Kerry Watson, director for the office of characterization and transportation in Carlsbad’s field office. “It wasn’t a hazardous materials release. We just want to be open about it and (let the public) know one of our trucks was involved in a traffic accident.”

Watson said the truck was bringing a shipment of waste from the Idaho National Laboratory to the WIPP site near Carlsbad.

The accident took place at around 6:30 p.m. on Interstate 15 in southeast Idaho between Pocatello and the state’s southern border.According to state police reports, Watson said, the WIPP truck was rear-ended by a private pickup truck.No damage was done to the packages in the trailer, Watson said, but the rear portion of the trailer itself was slightly damaged.”State police responded and verified that there was no release from the package as a result of the accident,” Watson said.The WIPP truck pulled to the side of the road while mechanics did repairs on the suspension of the vehicle’s rear axle. State police then escorted the trailer to a nearby maintenance facility, where additional repairs were made.

After a second inspection for contamination indicated that all was well, the truck then returned to Idaho National Laboratory.”There was no loss of containment by the packages,” Watson emphasized.The two drivers of the WIPP truck were uninjured. The driver of the pickup truck was transported for medical attention due to a complaint of a leg pain and concerns of a potential fracture, Watson said.”We were told that there was a wind gust that picked up dirt from a plowed field near the interstate,” Watson said. “A section
of highway was impacted by that where there was reduced visibility.”

Additionally, Watson said, another vehicle may have struck the rear of the pickup truck after the pickup struck the WIPP truck.”This
is part of an ongoing investigation,” he stressed. “That’s just part of what we heard.”The investigation is ongoing, Watson said, “but it doesn’t sound like there will be any citations against WIPP drivers.”